There is a revolt in the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) as many senior leaders associated with the federal government wanted the removal of Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, it is learnt on Tuesday.

Officials, privy to the development, say that some of the most senior federal government ministers backed Buzdar’s removal.

The ministers backing the removal include Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak and Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar. Punjab Governor Chaudhary Sarwar and Sindh Governor Imran Ismail also wish to see a change in the province’s top office.

“Federal ministers will present their views to Prime Minister Imran Khan today,” insiders revealed. The PM will decide on the next course of action after assessing the overall political situation, they added.

BUZDAR RESIGNATION NOT ACCEPTED: In a separate meeting with embattled Punjab’s Chief Minister Usman Buzdar today, PM Imran rejected his resignation and asked him to continue working, insiders said.

“Buzdar presented his resignation to the prime minister during the meeting and told him that he is ready to step down if matters are settled through his removal.”

He also assured the premier that he would stand by the party and the prime minister.

Buzdar reportedly told the PM that he was thankful to him for appointing him Punjab chief minister.

REBUTTAL: Meanwhile, Punjab government spokesperson Hasaan Khawar has rejected the reports claiming that the chief minister offered to resign and suggested appointing someone else in his place.

The reports had earlier claimed that Buzdar was ready to resign in favour of PML-Q’s Pervaiz Elahi.

Khawar said that Bazdar has the full confidence of Prime Minister Imran.

“The chief minister did not say anything about giving the post to anyone. PTI is united under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan and will remain united, God willing.”

PUNJAB ASSEMBLY: In the Punjab Assembly, PTI and its allies have 198 members. Of the 198, PTI has 183 MPAs, PML-Q 10, and four independent members. 

On the other hand, the opposition has 173 MPAs. Of them, PML-N has 165 MPAs, PPP seven and one is independent.

Anyone who wishes to form the government needs to have the backing of at least 186 MPAs. If 20 MPAs of disgruntled PTI leader Jahangir Tareen join the opposition, the Buzdar government can be sent packing. 

TAREEN GROUP: It is learnt that PM Imran has summoned a meeting with the lawmakers from the Tareen group where he will listen to their reservations.

The PM is also expected to meet former Punjab minister and disgruntled PTI leader Aleem Khan as well. The meeting is happening after Aleem decided to join the Jahangir Tareen group.

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, on the other hand, will meet with the prime minister to tell him more about the Tareen group’s grievances.

“Aleem Khan, Tareen, and the rest of the friends are the party’s assets, and there doesn’t seem to be a compulsion or differences that [the party members] couldn’t come closer,” Ismail said.

He expressed confidence that the situation would get better as all the matters would be resolved.

SUSPECTED MPAs: Meanwhile, PM Imran has reportedly been given a list of MPs that may vote for the opposition’s no-confidence motion.

Officials, privy to the development, say that the list comprised 28 names and has been made by a civilian institution.

The government is keeping a watch on these 28 and other MPs that are deemed “suspicious”.

Officials say the list is mostly made up of people who had switched their loyalties towards PTI.

The PM has tasked Pervez Khattak and Shah Mehmood Qureshi to win over the disgruntled MPs.


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